As my longer-standing customers know, Redwood Alchemy began as a little hand-made perfume shop on Etsy. And for a while, Etsy worked for me just fine. And while there were some growing pains in an effort to modify what I was doing, how I took and fulfilled orders as well as my online presence – especially on Reddit – I soon fell into a groove of creating new fragrances, publishing them and fulfilling purchases on that platform. And for a time, it was good.
The Etsy Strike
In April 2022, thousands of Etsy sellers went on strike in response to the increase of fee's Etsy charges its sellers. The increase was 1.5%, changing the total fee's from 5% to a total of about 9.5%, plus a myriad of other fee's charged, such as offline ads (which you have no real control over), listing fees (twenty cents per listing).
Breaking it down:
Listing Fee: $0.20
Transaction Fee: 6.5%
Payment Fee: 3% + $0.25 per transaction
Total Fees: 9.5% + $0.45.
This means that if an Etsy seller was to sell a product for $100, they would see $9.95 in Etsy fees. This excludes additional fees for offsite ads (usually between 12% to 15%, depending on how much you've earned on Etsy over time and can only be opted out of by a seller who has made more than $10,000 in a year on the platform), shipping costs and various other costs.
I've personally seen, over the course of my time since starting Redwood Alchemy, plenty of fee's and charges that were not covered in their terms. Increases in these fees have increased dramatically over that time.
You can view the petition here: https://www.coworker.org/petitions/cancel-the-fee-increase-work-with-sellers-not-against-us
Fees are not the only reason for my decision to move to my own website. In the end, I wanted more control over my own shop. Etsy has been “cracking down” on Etsy sellers who receive flags or copyright dings on their shop – often by shutting them down outright without any recourse or appeal process. This is mostly done by bots; automated programs that respond to literally anyone flagging a listing by taking the listing down and potentially marking the shop itself for copyright infringement. The Etsy SubReddit is practically clogged with posts about seller's shops being taken down without any information given, with no chance for appeal. In addition, contacting Etsy and getting a response can take months. Their customer service is so sparse that there have been rumors that Etsy has no customer support team at all.
Sellers have begun to believe that Etsy works against sellers. My experience deems this to be at least somewhat true. Personally, I've had several listings deactivated over my time selling on Etsy, typically for what they deemed “copyright issues”. My first listing taken down was a fragrance I called “Shinigami”. They said that this word was copyrighted by the makers of Death Note but, in the end, the word Shinigami is a cultural term used to denote a god of death. Because it is a cultural term, it cannot be copyrighted. That fragrance is now Bad Apple. Currently, I have a fragrance called Aqua Regia deactivated, which is the third time the listing has been taken down. For those unfamiliar, Aqua Regia is a substance used in chemistry used to dissolve metals such as gold or silver in order to make gold or silver plating, for example. And yet, the listing has been taken down more than once for copyright issues. I was unaware that you can copyright chemistry terms!
In the end, I do not have the control that I want on Etsy and I cannot take the chance of having an uncaring business taking my shop down without appeal even though I remain well-within their seller guidelines and rules. So, I'm moving to my own site and will be pursuing other channels such as Instagram, Facebook and others.
Essentially, the only thing that is changing is the place you buy my fragrances. The Etsy shop will remain open for the foreseeable future for those more comfortable with that platform.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please let me know!
As always, remember that you have value and that you matter.